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LETTEB xvm LOYE PHILTRES AND POTIONS 63
his eyes. During this whispered conference as many as
could reach leant close to the speakers, like the " savages "
that they are. I replied that I knew of no such philtres,
that if the girl's beauty and sweetness could not retain
her husband's love there was no remedy. She said she
knew I had them, and that I kept them, as well as
potions for making favourite wives ugly and odious to
their husbands, in a leather box with a gold key! Then
many headaches and sore eyes were brought, and a
samovar and tea, and I distributed presents in a Babel
in which anything but the most staccato style of conver-
sation was impossible. When I left the crowd surged
after me, and a sharp stone was thrown, which cut
through my cloak.
Later, Aslam Khan, his brothers, and the usual train
of retainers called. He is a very fine-looking man, six
feet high, with a most sinister expression, and a look at
times which inspired me with the deepest distrust of him.
His robber tribe numbers 3500 souls, and he says that
he can bring 540 armed horsemen into the field. He
too asked for medicine for headache. Not only is there
a blood feud between him and Khaja Taimur, but be-
tween him and Mirab Khan, through whose valley we
must pass. In the evening the Khan's mother returned
with several women, bent on getting the "love philtre."
At night Hadji, who was watching, said that men were
prowling round the tents at all hours, and a few things
On Monday morning early all was ready, for the three
caravans from that day were to march together, and I
was sitting on my horse talking with the Sahib, waiting
for the Agha to return from the Khan's camp, when he
rushed down the slope exclaiming, "There's mischief!"
and I crossed the stream and watched it. About twenty
men with loaded sticks had surrounded Mujid, and were